But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah 4:1-4
I have been reading the story of Jonah this past week. Jonah was an interesting prophet. God told him to go preach to the wicked nation of Nineveh. He told him to tell them to repent and turn from their sins.
So what does Jonah do? He hightails it in the opposite direction. He gets on a boat. A storm comes. Jonah gets thrown overboard. A big fish swallows him. Jonah prays in the belly of the fish. After three days, the big fish vomits Jonah out on the shore. Then Jonah decides it might be in his best interest to obey God and go on down to Nineveh.
After arriving in Nineveh, Jonah preaches. The people repent. God forgives them. Then Jonah gets angry at God because He has mercy on them. Jonah was ready to watch the judgment of God rain down upon them. Instead, he got to witness the Lord shower compassion and grace onto a desperate hopeless nation.
As we were discussing Jonah in my discipleship group, Amber shared that one of the things that she got out of the book of Jonah was how Christians can sometimes be very judgmental.
What a convicting statement!
Christians can be so quick to judge others. We forget our past. We forget how great our own sins are. We forget that the same compassion God has shown to us, He wants to show to others. We forget that the same Christ who died for us, died for everyone. “For God so loved the world…” John 3:16
Then I read this verse in Philippians 1:9. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.”
Then it hit me. The more knowledge we have of God and His Word doesn’t give us the right to sit in judgment of others. No, the more we learn and grow in the Lord, the more we should grow in our love for others.
Love-that’s our highest goal in life! To love God above all else. To love others as ourselves. This kind of love isn’t easy. It’s the hard, unconditional, sacrificial, dying to self-kind of love.
But love is the mark of maturity of a Christian. Love is the foundation for true knowledge and depth of insight. Love is the lens through which we see others as God sees them. Love is how we reflect Christ to a lost and broken world.
As John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Like Jason Kastner said in Life Group, “Judge less, love more!” That should be every Christian’s motto!
If you want to, click on the blog title above, then you can click on the you tube video “By Our Love” by King and Country. It’s a beautiful song. 🙂